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‘Our Response Was Far From Perfect’

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Skift Take

The Emirates President’s honest assessment of the situation after Tuesday’s record rainfall in Dubai indicates that the airline is determined to be better prepared for similar events in the future.

Dubai’s flagship carrier Emirates has had to cancel nearly 400 flights and delay many more in the 3 days following Tuesday’s thunderstorm, Emirates President Tim Clark wrote in an open letter to customers on Saturday.

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Extending an apology to all affected, Clark wrote, “We know our response has been far from perfect. We acknowledge and understand the frustration of our customers due to the congestion, lack of information, and confusion in the terminals. We acknowledge that the long queues and wait times have been unacceptable.”

He assured travelers that the airline is committed to learning from this experience to “make things right and improve future processes.”

The UAE experienced its heaviest rainfall in 75 years on Tuesday, halting operations across the country. In Dubai, over 1,200 flights were canceled and 40 were diverted.

The adverse weather conditions significantly impacted operations at Emirates.

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“To free up resources and capacity to manage impacted customers as a priority, we had to suspend check-in for passengers departing Dubai, implement an embargo on ticket sales, and temporarily halt connecting passenger traffic from points across our network coming into Dubai,” Clark wrote.

Flight Schedules Restored

As of Saturday morning, while regular flight schedules have been restored, the Emirates chief said the airline would take a few more days to clear the backlog of rebooked passengers and bags.

Clark acknowledged the difficulties faced by customers, pilots, cabin crew, and airport employees in reaching the airport due to flooded roads and logistical challenges.

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As a result, staffing shortages and difficulties in transporting essential supplies such as meals and flight amenities hindered operations.

Talking about the present situation, Clark wrote, “Passengers previously stranded in the airport transit area have been rebooked and are enroute to their destinations. We have put together a taskforce to sort, reconcile, and deliver some 30,000 pieces of left-behind baggage to their owners.”

 On Friday, Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai International Airport said the hub is “100% operational.”

Indian Advisory on Travel to Dubai

The Indian embassy in the UAE on Friday has advised inbound Indian passengers travelling to or transiting through Dubai International Airport to reschedule their travel operations.

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“Inbound Indian passengers travelling to or transiting through Dubai International Airport are advised to reschedule non-essential travel till operations normalise,” the advisory read.

Dubai International Airport has temporarily restricted the number of inbound flights following the flash floods.

“In adherence to the instructions issued by Dubai Airport Authority, we have adjusted our flight operations to and from Dubai to continue with the maximum permissible reduced capacity of 50% of our schedule,” an Air India Express spokesperson said in a statement.

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Air India in a statement informed about the cancellation of its flights to and from Dubai due to continued operational disruptions at Dubai Airport. “Customers booked on our flights with valid tickets for travel till 21st April 2024 will be offered a one-time waiver on rescheduling and full refunds for cancellation,” an Air India spokesperson said.

IndiGo too has cancelled some of its flights to Dubai.

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